This project has been financed in whole or in part by the City of Austin’s Elevate Grant Program.
When we first learned of the need for social circus with disadvantaged children in Central Texas, we knew we had to do something.
Circus of Hope was a social circus active from 2013-2018; our nonprofit Uprise Circus was created to fill the need when they closed and expand it to serve a broader group of teens.
The all-female founders and friends share a passion for helping kids, love of circus, and commitment to making an impact on their community.
Together we can help even more
By day, you can find Ashley using her degree from the University of Texas working as a software engineer. But by night, you can find her dropping from a static trapeze or making crafty Valentine’s Day cards.
Ashley also loves eating at some of the best places in town—so feel free to ask her where to go for your next delicious meal.
Having been a competitive gymnast in her prior life, Stephany was instantly attracted to learning flying trapeze and hasn’t looked back since! She now uses her years of gymnastics and trapeze experience to help guide the kids in Uprise Circus’ youth program.
Stephany is a local small business owner of a bulk water delivery company that provides drinking water throughout central Austin and the Hill Country. She lives in the Round Rock area with her husband, 2 teens and 3 dogs.
David is an attorney and long-time Austin resident. He has a transportation law focused practice and provides volunteer legal services through Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts and other pro bono legal service providers. He has worked with Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts since he was in law school where his work with the organization helped him earn a pro bono honors award.
David enjoys mountain biking with friends and being outdoors in his spare time.
When she is not flying through the air with the greatest of ease, Liz helps business owners elevate their companies’ branding and marketing. Liz uses her UT art degrees and two decades of experience to create designs that dazzle audiences.
Her list of accomplishments include multiple cattle drives, finishing high school at 15 years old, and creating another human.
Sarah has a passion for philanthropy. As a sustaining member of the Junior League of Austin and the National Charity League she is consistently looking for ways to give back. Involved in the Austin circus community for 10 years now you can always find her on, under, or above a trapeze. If not in the air she’s probably underwater SCUBA diving.
Director, DEI and Social Media
Selima Harbison is a native Austin circus artist, aerialist, influencer, and champion of diversity in her roles as Uprise Circus’s DEI consultant and social media marketer. Beyond her performances, she nurtures inclusivity in circus arts and owns multiple farmers markets, enriching Austin’s community with fresh produce and support for local artisans. Her dedication to empowerment and social change resonates in every facet of her endeavors.
Lover of all things fun, when not performing his day job as a QA Engineer, you can find James either playing the guitar, skateboarding, paddleboarding, on the soccer field, or in an art gallery. He is deeply passionate about helping his community and is striving to make an impact in his newfound social circus community. He loves getting new restaurant recommendations so feel free to give him some.
Carolyn joined us as a volunteer in 2022 and has shown exceptional dedication and leadership with our students, as well as the entire volunteer team.
Her resume includes a wide-variety of instructor, performer, and rigging roles with Ecole Nationale de Cirque and Cirque Du Soleil after graduation from New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) in 2015.
On a daily basis, Carolyn develops program curriculum, trains teachers, and leads aerial classes in addition to the administrative elements of running a social circus.